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One of the most widespread types of bets in the world of betting are bets with handicaps, very popular in football betting but not only as we will see later. Let's start by saying that there are two common types of betting handicap: the Asian handicap and the so-called European handicap (or three-way handicap). Let's see below which are the best bookmakers where to place our handicap bets:

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What does Handicap Betting mean

What does handicap in sports betting mean? This is a very common question among those who approach the world of online betting sites for the first time. Also because we are talking about one of the most present markets in many of the best-known sports disciplines.

The basic concept of handicap betting is simple: bookmakers equalize the chances of victory for the opponents of an event, by adding a certain number of goals/points/games to the underdog of the match.

This type of bet is usually presented when one team is significantly more favored than the other, reflected in a very low winning odd. To make the betting proposition more attractive, bookmakers will offer a higher odd on the favored team that starts with a disadvantage or handicap, and vice versa.

Handicap Betting: How it works

The best way to explain how handicap betting works is to provide a practical example. Let's suppose that Juventus is playing at home in Turin against Catanzaro in a Coppa Canada match. In this case, we would expect the home team, the Bianconeri, to have very high chances of success. And indeed, by looking at the odds for the 1 sign, we notice that it reaches a maximum of 1.05, while the away team's victory is at 30.00.

A low odds like this will surely attract very few bettors. To make the potential victory of Juventus more appealing, bookmakers will then offer a handicap on sign 1, for example "-3" (at a much higher odds than 1.05), meaning that the team will start the game with a disadvantage of 3 goals.

In the same way, bookmakers may also offer an advantage for the underdog team, for example by offering a betting handicap of "+3" to Catanzaro, which in this case will start the game with a 3-goal advantage. Suppose, then, we bet on sign 2 with a +3 handicap: in our case, Catanzaro must not lose by more than 2 goals because a defeat of 3 goals (for example, 3-0 for Juventus) would mean that the game ends in a draw from the perspective of the handicap bet.

Asian handicap

We have talked about two types of handicap bets. Let's start with the less known one in Canada. Now, let's take a look at Asian handicap by using a football match as an example where this type of bet is very popular.

Let's imagine we have Sampdoria and Milan playing at Marassi; bookmakers will offer Samp as the winning team with a betting handicap of-1.5 goals. This means that the bet will be successful if Samp wins the game by two or more goals.

Calculating the value of an Asian handicap bet is very simple: after the end of the match, the value of the Asian handicap is subtracted from the number of goals scored, in our case by Sampdoria (which is 1.5 goals). If after this subtraction the result is still in favor of Sampdoria, then the bet will be won. Otherwise, the bet will be lost.

For example, the game will end with the final score of 3-1 in favor of Samp:

  • 3 – 1.5 = 1.5

The final score, taking into account the handicap, is 1.5-1. The bet is won.

And if Sampdoria were to win 1-0? Then we would have:

  • 1-1.5 =-0.5

The final score taking into account the handicap will be-0.5-0. The bet is lost.

In the same way, bets on AC Milan winning with a +1.5 goal handicap will be calculated. Only in this case, the handicap is not subtracted but added to the total number of goals scored by the Rossoneri.

Types of Asian handicap in betting

Asian handicap is the most common type of handicap. There are various types of markets for this bet:

  • Handicap-0.5 or +0.5: Here, team A is the favorite with a narrow margin. Therefore, team B is given half a goal in advance of the final result. In other words, if the game ends in a tie, in our case the bet on team B (+0.5) wins because this team will end up with 0.5 goals ahead. This means that if you bet on team B, you will be satisfied with two results: the victory of this team or a draw. In other words, team B needs to avoid losing. If you bet on team A (-0.5), you will only be satisfied with the victory of this team. Because if team A draws or loses, the result of the game with handicap will not be in their favor.
  • Asian Handicap 0 or Draw No Bet: This bet, Draw No Bet, eliminates a draw as a possible outcome of the match-in case of a draw, a refund is made. If you bet on Team A with a “0” handicap in the match against Team B and Team A wins, the bet will be won. If a draw occurs, the bet will be refunded. However, if Team A loses, the bet will be lost.
  • Asian handicap 1: The betting principle for this handicap is the same as that of +0.5. The only exception is that 1 goal is added to the team's final score.
  • Asian Handicap 1.5: The calculation principle of this handicap is the same as the handicap 1. The only difference is that this time 1.5 goals are added to the final result instead of 1 goal. In this case, the bet is not refundable.
  • Double Asian Handicap: Since not many goals are scored in football, bookmakers have come up with the idea of ​​offering a double handicap, which divides the bet among its values. In other words, if you bet on a double Asian handicap, the stake will be divided into two halves. The first will be bet on one part of the double handicap, and the second-on the other.

Classic or European betting handicap

The classic or European handicap betting differs from the Asian handicap in that it only offers whole handicap values (and not half points like the Asian one). Let's take for example our Samp-Milan match and we bet on Milan to win with a European handicap of +1. Let's say Samp wins in the end with a score of 2-1.

Due to the +1 betting handicap for Milan, the final score will be 2-2 and therefore the bet will be lost. But if the teams tie or Milan wins, the bet will be won.

As for a bet on a European handicap draw (X + handicap), the bet will only be won when the total score, including the handicap, is a draw.

Playing X (-1) with a handicap means that the home team starts with a one-goal disadvantage. Our bet on a draw will only win if the home team wins but with a one-goal lead (1-0, 2-1, etc.). The same applies if the away team is favored: if we choose 2H and predict a sign of 2 with a one-goal handicap, it means that the away team must win by two goals and this applies to other types of handicap bets as well.

Handicap bets in football and other sports

For which sports can handicap betting odds be used? Although football is the most popular sport in the world of betting, there are many other sports that often have handicap markets. The majority of bookmakers do not just offer handicap odds on football matches. Similar bets exist for basketball, hockey, tennis, rugby, American football, baseball, and other sports.

In particular, we will have:

  • Rugby and American Football-One of the teams will start with a points advantage. The handicap bet related to the score will be higher due to the nature of the result in a rugby match.
  • Golf-Many bookmakers allow you to place handicap bets on the rounds of the most popular golf matches, for example +3 strokes.
  • Tennis-Handicaps in tennis can be applied to both sets and games. If the handicap is applied to the games, they will all be added together to form the final result, which may not necessarily reflect the outcome of the match.
  • Basket-Both teams will be assigned a certain odds and a predetermined point spread, which will be positive or negative depending on their favorite or underdog status.


Handicap betting is very similar to normal 1X2 betting with the difference being that the favored team is given a handicap of, for example, 1 goal (or the unfavored team is given a handicap of +). With handicap betting, the aim is to cancel out the disadvantage of one of the two teams by assigning an appropriate handicap to the favored team.

Among the many AGCO bookmakers available for this type of betting, we highlight LeoVegas,, Bodog, and 888sports, which offer slightly higher average odds compared to many others. If you want to start betting with an advantage, take advantage of the betting bonuses offered by the bookmakers recommended by the experts at trendsnow when signing up.

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Betting Handicap Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

What are handicap bets?

1X2 handicap betting is similar to normal 1X2 betting, with the difference being that the favorite team is given a handicap, such as 1 goal. The aim of 1X2 handicap betting is to nullify the disadvantage of one of the two teams by assigning an appropriate handicap to the favorite team.

How many types of handicaps are there in football?

There are two handicaps in football, the classic (or European) one and the Asian one.

Which sports have handicap bets?

The most common sport to bet on with a handicap is football. However, this type of bet can also be applied to tennis, basketball, rugby, and many other minor sports.

About Us Alex Di Caro

A former professional gambler turned journalist, Alex is an expert in all things related to sports betting: from welcome bonuses to the mechanisms behind creating odds.